THINK ON THESE: Never neglect the little things

“Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things.” — Og Mandino


“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things,” said Robert Breault.

Yes, little things mean a lot. It was only a pebble which killed Goliath. It was just one vote which saved American president Andrew Jackson from impeachment in 1868. Only three simple words – “I love you” – can start a lifetime commitment. And it only takes a spark to start a fire.

“What we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, the embryo, and it is the point of departure which, generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence. One single black speck may be the beginning of a gangrene, of a storm, of a revolution,” commented Henri Frederic Amiel.

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, sometimes it’s the little things that add much more to the big picture. Look, it’s easy to focus your attention on having the big things, like driving a nice, new car or living in a super nice house. All of us can easily envision ourselves living the good life. But it usually takes more than just seeing the big picture in order to live it. As John Wooden puts it, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

In the Old Testament, a verse reads, “A day of little things, no doubt, but who would dare despise it?” Well, never despise those little things.

Laurie Beth Jones, author of The Power of Positive Prophecy, related her own story about a former boss who didn’t want her to spend so much time with clients. “Go after the big clients,” she was told. “Leave the peanuts to the others.”

But still she did what she wanted to do. “When the numbers were totaled,” she wrote, “my combination of small sales outtotaled his few ‘big ones.’” She resigned from her job and started her own company. “Dinosaurs became extinct – yet rabbits still abound,” she observed.

At age 21, Jacques Lafitte, a son of a very poor carpenter from a small city, set out to seek his fortune and future life’s work in Paris. He had no references from influential people, no brilliant academic career behind him, but he was young and full of hope.

With his usual thoroughness, he started looking for a job. Days became weeks, and still he had no job or income. But he kept at it. Nobody in Paris noticed this determined young man.

One morning, he applied at the office of a famous Swiss banker, Monsieur Perregaux. The banker asked him a few questions about himself. Then, he slowly shook his head and said there would be no job offered at the moment.

Sadly, and more discouraged than ever, Jacques left the bank and walked slowly across the courtyard. As he did so, he paused, stopped, and picked something up. Then, he continued into the busy street, wondering if perhaps it wasn’t time to return home.

At about that moment, he was overtaken by a man who tapped him on the shoulder. “Excuse me, sir,” he said, “I’m an employee at the bank. Monsieur Perregaux wishes to see you again.”

For the second time that morning, Jacques faced the famous banker. “Pardon me,” the banker said, “but I happened to be watching you as you crossed the courtyard of the bank. You stopped and picked something up. Would you mind telling me what it was?”

“Only this,” the young man replied, wonderingly, as he took a bright new straight pin from the underside of the lapel of his coat. “Aaah,” the banker exclaimed. “That changes everything. We always have room here for anyone who is careful about little things. You may start at once.”

That was how Jacques Lafitte started his long and amazingly successful association with the bank, ultimately assuming complete control of what became “Perregaux, Lafitte, and Company.”

Sweat that small stuff! Carlo Danao wrote this short poem as a reminder: “Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. Thus the little minutes, humble though they be, make the mighty ages of eternity.”

Inspiration speaker Dale Carnegie once said, “Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves.” Well said.

If we can glean anything from Mr. Carnegie’s comments, it should be that if we do a little everyday and keep doing it consistently, then a little can become a lot. No doubt about it, a little here and a little there sure beats the heck out of doing nothing. And doing the little things is easier than trying to scale the mountain all at once.

“Life is made up of small pleasures,” said Norman Lear. “Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything.”

Perhaps the statement of Art Linkletter is a good reminder to us all that doing a little can pay big dividends: “Do a little more than you’re paid to. Give a little more than you have to. Try a little harder than you want to. Aim a little higher than you think possible. And give a lot of thanks to God for health, family, and friends.”

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